January 30, 2012

“Wellness that Worx” – American Alternative Health Care Ingenuity.

Our people are dying prematurely at alarming rates – and something needs to be done.

The U.S. ranks an abysmal 34th in the ranking of countries in the world when it comes to infant mortality. We score an embarrassing 49th among the nations of the world when it comes to average life expectancy. Nearly 59 million Americans went without health insurance coverage for at least part of 2010, many of them with conditions or diseases that needed treatment.

Research released this week in the American Journal of Public Health estimates that 45,000 deaths per year in the United States are associated with the lack of health insurance.

How our nation responds to these dire statistics has become a polarizing political football. In the midst of all of those high level debates about health care reform, and in the midst of effective gridlock and paralysis on these issues, something else is happening – a growing number of citizens are taking their health care into their own hands. They are finding and creating alternative ways to be as healthy as they can.

More and more Americans are eschewing the traditional Western (m.d./pharmaceutical) model that treats symptoms but doesn’t address causes, by turning to alternative health care practitioners and seeking to enhance their health by changing their diets how they obtain their food.

One such creative approach is an organization birthed in one of the healthiest cities in the country. The Wellness Networx of Boulder, CO is the brainchild of its founder Kari Nelson.

Ms. Nelson founded Wellness Networx in March, 2009. Having run a massage therapy business for nearly 20 years, Nelson realized that her clients did better if they also wove in other alternative treatment modalities -– things such as natropathy, homeopathy, cranial sacral work, Reiki, and acupuncture. The number one obstacle preventing people from incorporating those sorts of alternative treatments is cost. Alternative treatments tend to costs between $75-$200 per hour.

It dawned on Ms. Nelson, who also has worked as a marketing and communications consultant for businesses, that there was something she could do to help meet this need. Her vision was to create a win-win solution whereby clients in need can obtain alternative health care treatments at a reduced cost and whereby practitioners can grow their businesses by dramatically increasing their clientele.

Hence, the “Wellness Networx.” W.N. is a network of alternative health care providers in and around the Boulder area that offers services at affordable discounted rates for members.

How it works:

Members pay a monthly fee ($14/month for individuals or $25/month for families) and have access to simple pay rates: $39 per session for all services.  $59 per session for tenured practitioners (those who have been practicing 10 years or more). Less than 10% of services do not fall into either of the simple pay rates, in such cases, those services are offered at a 25% discount from their normal rates (a homeopath and an M.D./N.D. who normally charge $225/session). The network is similar to the health care plans and consortiums that many traditional doctors participate in. The prices of W.N.’s monthly fees and pay rates are in line with the typical co-pay amounts in traditional medicine plans.

The network helps practitioners fill hours in their schedules and increase their client base. The network also helps to market the businesses of the participating providers in a very competitive town (you can’t throw a rock in Boulder without hitting a yoga teacher, a therapist, or a massage therapist – and if you do, they’ll likely flash you the peace sign and give you a hug).

Wellness Networx has 27 practitioners currently and more are coming onboard all the time. W.N. offers 11 different therapies from psychotherapy, ayurvedic, cranial sacral, natropanty, accupuncture, Reiki, to Thai massage.

Ms. Nelson’s vision for the future includes expanding the network across the Upper Front range Ft. Collins-Denver metro area. In 2012, Wellness Networx will be doing health fairs in various towns on front range, a weekly blog featuring founder and many area health care experts. Helps them grow their businesses.

Wellness Networx will bring on board pediatric specialists in 2012. They are likely to have over 200 participating therapists and practitioners within 3 years. Their Business plan includes a goal of expanding into cities across the country within the next 5 years.

To learn more about this unique model, contact  www.wellnessnetworx.com

I’m told that persons interested in being an “angel investors” can come in for as little as $50,000 to as much $500,000.

While the political gridlock over health care plods on in Washington, good ‘ol American ingenuity is happening within the masses. It’s been said that “The necessity is the mother of all invention.” A nation in need is busy inventing. Perhaps someday, our leaders in Washington will catch up.


Wolsey is an ordained United Methodist pastor who resonates with John Wesley’s belief that salvation involves wholeness for “the whole person,” including their physical well-being. Wesley even wrote a book on the experimental healing modalities of his time, “Primitive Physick.” Roger is convinced John Wesley would be a member of such a network and partake in all of the alternative healing therapies that are available.

He is the author of Kissing Fish: christianity for people who don’t like christianity and blogs for Elephant Journal, Patheos, and Huffington Post.

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